CONSERVATION

Efforts underway to conserve river tributaries along Mara River

Communities living along the basin to be sensitised on proper utilisation of land next to the water points

In Summary
  • An official said that the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme has done feasibility studies for dams along the basin.
  • Residents who attended the community consultations hailed the Mara River Basin project in relation to the ongoing conservation of water catchment areas.
Terence Ngoda of NELSAP speaks during a community consultation forum in Bomet/Narok county border.
Terence Ngoda of NELSAP speaks during a community consultation forum in Bomet/Narok county border.
Image: Faith Matete

Efforts to conserve river tributaries that form Mara River as it drains into Lake Victoria through Tanzania have started.

Kenya Nile Discourse Forum has already started engaging residents living along the river's tributaries. 

According to Mara River Water Users Association secretary Paul Rono, the tributaries are key to the survival of Mara River thus the need to conserve them.

Rono said there are two major rivers: Nyongores and Amala that drains into the river, which must be conserved at all cost.

He added that most rivers originate from Mau Forest in Narok and conservation efforts will ensures the rivers keep flowing.

Rono said that families living downstream of Mara River Basin must be engaged more consistently in a bid to sensitise them on proper utilisation of their land which sits next to the rivers.

“We have the Maa and Kalenjin communities, and each and every community have their own culture of existence,” he said.

Rono said that the upstream of the basin is littered with small-scale farmers who farm up to the riparian land thus degrading the environment.  

Speaking at Tenwek water fall in Bomet, he said that through the Mara River Basin project, the conservation has been scaled up and there is need to do more.

“I must commend the good effort put in place by non-state actors to engage the residents to participate in other income activities and shun cutting trees for charcoal making,” he said.

KNDF chairman Joseph Ngome, who spoke during a community consultation in Bomet and Narok counties on Wednesday, requested for more resources in the conservation of the water sources that come from Mau Forest.

“There is need to map out community groups along the Mara Basin so that they walk together in conservation of the environment around them,” he said.

He commended the national government for protecting Mau Forest, which is the main source of rivers that feed Lake Victoria and the Nile.

On Monday, Deputy President William Ruto, after tour of Narok county, said that nobody should be allowed to live in Mau Forest.

He criticised certain leaders for politicising the issue of the forest. 

Ruto assured residents that no illegal settlers will return to the forest since the government has put in place plans to conserve it.

Mara River Basin manager Terence Ngoda decried the lack of water in the newly established towns along the Mara Basin.

He said the existing challenge is to provide enough water to the population in these towns and for food production. 

Ngoda announced that the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme has done feasibility studies for dams along the basin.

"We want to build water reservoirs that can be used for hydro-electric purposes, provide water for fishing and other domestic use," he said.

Ngoda added that 32 areas were identified for putting up the dams, with 20 sites being in Kenya while 12 sites will be in Tanzania.

He said NELSAP has received some funds, but will continue sourcing for others to implement transboundary projects within its jurisdiction.

Residents who attended the community consultations hailed the Mara River Basin project in relation to the ongoing conservation of water catchment areas.

Cynthia Chepkemoi, a resident, said through the project, women have benefited from beehives, fruit seedlings, improved cassava and banana tissues.

"The economic value of this project is huge and we look ahead to more projects to sustain the gains already made," she said.

(edited by Amol Awuor)